Tutors: Dimitrios Polisoidis & Geneviève Strosser

A project with Geneviève Strosser and Dimitrios Polisoidis


This project does not deal with the well-known composition of the same name by Morton Feldman (The Viola in My Life), but rather the associative projection of the title.


The central focus of this course is, naturally, the viola as a solo instrument and its role in New Music. There will be particular emphasis on freedom in engaging with scores, the verbalization of musical intentions, and fundamental questions of interpretation, as the discussion of this in New Music is still not as detailed as it is for the music of earlier periods.


Focuses of the Course
I. Interpretation Course
As well as working on their own choice of viola literature, course participants will also focus on comparing interpretive approaches to the “classic” repertoire of the 20th century. For this purpose, participants are asked to prepare, in addition to the pieces they have chosen, one work from the following list: Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Sonata, Luciano Berio: Sequenza, Gérard Grisey: Prologue, Georges Aperghis: Volte-Face.
The two tutors will be available for the participants as “team teachers.”


II. Lectures by Course Participants
Participants in the viola course are invited to give either a lecture (duration: 20-30 minutes) on a subject of their choice or a presentation of a piece of their choice. Slots in the “Open Space” program will be reserved for these lectures.


III. Lectures by the Tutors and Discussion Groups
The two tutors will present a range of viola literature, speak on selected topics, have discussions in class with other instrumental tutors about “interpretation”, and also have conversations with composition tutors about the most important aspects of the interpretation of their music.


IV. Tutors Play with Course Participants
This part of the course will involve, among other things, preparing a version of Study for String Instrument #1 by Simon Steen-Andersen with all violists on the course.


V. Special Project for Composers and Violists: Viola in My/Our Life
Composers taking part in the Summer Course can contribute short pieces for 1-3 violas with a duration of 3-5 minutes. The content of these compositions should be inspired by the course title “Viola in My/Our Life” Tempo and dynamic indications in the score should be hidden from the performers, as the challenge for them is to prepare a version of the piece according to their own ideas. In this special project, there will subsequently be a comparison in which the composer’s “secret” is revealed and the question of the “correct interpretation” is discussed.
Compositions should be accompanied by a short text in which, beyond compositional, formal or instrumental matters, there are also hints at the inner necessity of writing the piece.
It would also be appreciated if participants in the viola course could compose or improvise short pieces of their own with the same thematic background (“Viola in My/Our Life”).
A selection of these compositions will be discussed in the context of this special project, rehearsed in different versions in collaboration with everyone involved, and finally presented and performed in an Open Space session.


Interested composers may please contact the two tutors as soon as possible and send first sketches so that the tutors can decide if the projects can be realized in the short time frame: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The scores (PDF) have to be completed by 15 July 2016.